Life as MommyMo

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Feeling Proud

I am having my usual post-Summit mix of emotions this afternoon. Putting on such a huge meeting is a ton of work, but for very obvious good reasons. I am typically exhausted before I even arrive... luckily the adrenaline level is insanely high and totally contagious, so I make it through without collapsing in front of tons of volunteers.

I am feeling the pain today, but it's the satisfying kind... like when you take a very long walk and know you've done something good for yourself when you get home. I made it home with no flight delays this morning (which feels like the universe's little gift to me) and am able to get some R&R in before we head out to a family party tonight.

I had so much fun watching everyone in the ballroom in Indianapolis get excited to see people like Gordy Klatt, Pat Flynn, Dr. Seffrin, Dr. Brawley, Jeff Ross and so many other Relay celebs take the stage this weekend. It was especially fun to "experience" the Summit through Rob's eyes for a few brief moments. He's so committed to Relay, but had to watch most of the Summit (our biggest event of the year!) from the sidelines last year since we had Sam with us.

It was rather amusing, though, that Rob almost had no time for his boring wife whilst there. He was way too busy networking and basically being every bit the social butterfly. It was surreal. On Thursday night, we hung out in the hotel bar with a few friends and when I finally said I needed to get to bed so I could make a very early morning rehearsal, Rob just replied with, "I think I'll stay down here for a while and talk to these guys." What?? Voluntary socializing without my assistance? Who are you and what have you done with my husband??!

The absolute highlight of the weekend for me, though, was seeing Dr. Emil Freireich on the Relay stage. We'd seen Dr. Freireich for the first time about six years ago at the Medford Relay when he was asked by the family of a young leukemia survivor to come speak. Since I'd never forgotten that experience, I was thrilled that we were able to invite him to the nationwide Summit this year. Dr. Freireich and his research partner are credited with essentially "curing" childhood leukemia as well as developing the concept of combination chemotherapy. His contributions to the fight against cancer are nothing short of legendary, and hearing him tell his story was powerful stuff. We invited anyone in the 700+ audience who knew they'd been personally impacted by Dr. Freireich's work to come to the stage as he finished speaking to shake his hand. In the words of Rosanne Radke, it was like watching a religious revival in some ways. The flood of people who poured forth just for the chance to say a sentence to this man was one of the most moving things I've ever witnessed. I get chills just thinking about it. It's not often in your life that you meet someone with such stature who has single-handedly contributed to a better quality of life for MILLIONS of people.

Rob was lucky enough to get a quick picture with Dr. Freireich yesterday. He wants to be able to show it to a student of his who has been battling leukemia. I can't WAIT for her to see it! I was lucky enough to be the stagehand who helped Dr. Freireich get his microphone off once he was finished speaking and greeting people. I asked him if he's had fun, and he replied, "It was fun, but it was also so very moving..." And then he teared up a bit.

It's moments like this that make me realize how lucky I am to have the job I have.


renee82 said...

Wow Karen! Sound like a very emotional yet very rewarding weekend. I had chill reading your entry. How wonderful for everyone to have met such an amazing Dr.! :)

Alice said...

Thanks so much for sharing this Karen. It's really moving.